One of the many things we did during our five senses curriculum in prekindergarten was examine artist, M.C. Escher and photographer, Ansel Adams' use of black and white imagery. Students had an opportunity to look at several close-up and distant images photographed by Ansel Adams during their leisure time a week prior to studying Ansel Adams' work in our class. The following week, students were shown various photographs from Portfolios of Ansel Adams and Ansel Adams. We utilized the “see, think, wonder” teaching strategy to assist students in making their thinking visible. We showcased each photograph for 45 seconds (a long time for a prekindergartener) and encouraged them to look thoughtfully at the photograph before we posed the first question.
What do you see?
"I see wood."
"I see scratches in wood."
"I see leaves."
Once students exhausted answers to the first inquiry, we followed up with the next question.
What do you think?
"I think it's wood."
"I think it's a old piece of wood."
"I think it's a tree."
Once students exhausted answers to the second inquiry, we followed up with the final inquiry . . . "What do you wonder?" Often times, the prekindergarteners confused what they thought and wondered.
What do you wonder?
"I wonder if it's a tree."
"I wonder if it's wood."
Initially, the prekindergarteners shared thoughts that were more concrete and visible, however, as the process progressed over the span of a week, students' responses became more attuned to the details of the photographs.
After analyzing Ansel Adams' close up and far away images, we discussed how one's vantage point impacts perspective (in a PK friendly way).
Integration of iPads into the PK Curriculum
The following week, our class learned how to use the iPads to take pictures. We highly suggest using iPads with the “Grabbit” handle. iPads with the Grabbit handle accessory enables students to photograph images independently and without teacher support. The Grabbit handle frees up one hand to hold the iPad and the other hand to photograph images. Consequently, students do not have to focus all of their energy on holding the iPad with two hands in addition to pushing the button on the screen. Students were taken outside individually to photograph something close up and something from a distance. Afterwards, students used their iPad to convert both of their images to black and white by clicking on edit, filters, mono, apply, and save. Our prekindergarteners were extremely proud of their photographs and their ability to convert their work into black and white masterpieces.
In addition to photographing images outdoors, each student had an opportunity to photograph a classmate and convert the portrait to black and white as well. Photographing each other provided our class with an opportunity to practice digital citizenship. Each student either consented to the photograph taken of them or requested that their picture be retaken for our “Black and White Perspective” bulletin board. Our photographs are currently on display outside of the PK class and will be showcased at our Upper School at the end of March.